What Price Safety?

  • Posted

Posted 18/04/2012

There continues to be a media and political campaign perpetuating the myth of a compensation culture. The Tory peer Lord Young’s report arranged by this government concluded there was no such thing as a compensation culture. However, this has not stopped the political drive to remove regulations intended to protect employees and others from avoidable accidents under the guise of removing the burden of red tape of ” ‘elf and Safety” .

Because one or two well publicised cases of overzealous interpretation (banning conkers playing without goggles in school springs to mind), the principle of trying to ensure an accident does not happen is lost. By ridiculing the proposition it undermines the seriousness of the subject.If we are not personally affected it is easy to jump on that same bandwagon – that must be why premia are high – that must be why businesses are struggling. Yet it misses the fundamental point. If we all drove safely there would be less accidents and less claims. If employers took reasonable precautions and trained staff properly, there would be less accidents at work. Less claims would mean lower insurance premia.I, for one, am concerned that by removing what politicians consider unnecessary regulation, less will be spent on this vital area in many businesses. Yes a lot of the time the injuries are (thankfully) small, one might sometimes say trivial, but the next time it could be catastrophic. The legislation tries to reflect this. The riskier the activity the more safeguards should be in place.It is easy to be wise after the event, but when you lose a family member in an accident at work or they are severely injured in a car accident which is the fault of another driver, then the natural reaction is to ask whether that tragedy could have been prevented. In most cases it could have and that is in spite of, not because of, the health and safety legislation is in place.


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